Sedentary women at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes

Women who stay seated for most of the day have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than people who sit less every day, according to a study from the University of Leicester in the UK that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The same link wasn't found in men, however.

Researchers studied more than 500 men and women age 40 years or older. They collected data on how much time the participants spent sitting during a typical week. They also analyzed blood samples from the patients.

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Women who spent the longest time sitting had higher levels of insulin. They also had higher levels of C-reactive protein and chemicals released by fatty tissue in the abdomen, leptin, and interleukin6. These all indicate chronic and problematic inflammation.

Researchers did not determine why sedentary women were more prone to developing diabetes than sedentary men. They hypothesize that women might snack more often than men while sitting for long periods of time or that men tend to participate in more active behaviors than women when they are not seated.

“This study provides important new evidence that higher levels of sitting time have a deleterious impact on insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation in women but not men and that this effect is seen regardless of how much exercise is undertaken,” said Thomas Yates, lead author of the study. “This suggests that women who meet the national recommendations of 30 minutes of exercise a day may still be compromising their health if they are seated for the rest of the day.”

“It therefore suggests that enabling women to spend less time sitting may be an important factor in preventing chronic disease,” said Yates.

Previous research has found that exercise and moderate weight loss can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes among adults at high risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Experts recommend moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five days a week. Examples of moderate-intensity exercise include brisk walking, dancing, swimming or bicycling.

Source: University of Leicester, Centers for Disease Control

photo by John Nyboer

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